An Alexandra couple are proposing a shantytown-like
development for the town's riverfront in the hope it will
attract more people to the area and teach them about
If Rory and Karen McLellan's proposal went ahead, vacant
Crown-owned land beside the Criterion Hotel, in Tarbert St,
would be transformed into a mock miners' village with
replicas of miners' huts and mining implements. There would
be a small stream where people could pan for gold, as well as
a cafe, ablutions block and picnic areas.
The land in front of this area - the Clutha River bank -
would be transformed into a terraced barbecue and picnic area
with a wheelchair-accessible ramp in the middle, leading to a
floating pontoon where boats could be moored.
This area would be engineered to withstand flooding, while
the area containing the huts would be above the flood bank.
Mr McLellan said the idea stemmed from his thought the town
needed more tourist attractions.
Also, because he had been searching for an idea to help teach
children about local history, and he wanted to see better use
made of the river.
"The Clutha River is one of the most beautiful in the world,
but poor access means it's not a focal point for the town."
The huts would be built as authentically as possible to
depict how the miners would have lived, but they would also
be built to stand the test of time so the area would still
look good in 50 or so years, he said.
Initial talks with stakeholders such as Land Information New
Zealand and Contact Energy had been positive, and as the
project was still just a proposal, the next step would be to
gauge both business and public support, Mr McLellan said.
Promote Alexandra chairman Shayne Hitchcock thought it was a
"[These] ideas are what Alexandra needs; more features to
attract people in.
"We have the best river frontage in the country so why not
make it presentable; a place people want to go."
Mr McLellan said they were forming a trust to take control of
the proposal and, if it went ahead, they would apply to
community funding agencies.
He estimated the development would cost a little more than $1
million and take about a year to construct.